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Agri-PV project of Cheyssieu

An experimental agrivoltaic project on apple trees

The project in brief

An agrivoltaic project on apple trees is currently being developed in the commune of Cheyssieu. The project is run by the site's owner/farmers and BayWa r.e., in close collaboration with the Municipality, the community of communes Entre Bièvre et Rhône, the departmental council of Isère and the Chambers of Agriculture of Isère and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.  

With a capacity of 1 MWp, the Cheyssieu agrivoltaic project is supported and monitored by the European LIFE program, which aims to help transform the European Union into a climate-neutral and resilient society. 

Its aim is to generate concrete agricultural results on a small scale, enabling informed decisions to be made in the future about the development of the "agrivoltaics" solution on a larger scale. 

To find out more, visit BayWa r.e.'s EU LIFE projects page.

Project overview

  • Project location

    The Louze plateau is an important arboricultural region (apples, apricots, peaches...), regularly confronted with climatic episodes significantly affecting production, such as hail or extreme temperatures.  

    The Cheyssieu agrivoltaic project is designed to mitigate climate change affecting crops. It is located in the south-west of the commune, on temporarily unused agricultural land and/or former apple orchards that have been converted to cereal crops. This project will enable the entire plot to be returned to its historic arboricultural vocation.

  • Key data
    • Site area: 2.8 ha
    • Installed capacity: 0.979 kWp
    • Equivalent to the electricity consumption of: 300 households (3 out of 5 Cheyssinois households)
  • Information and consultation

    The project is steered by a working group comprising : 

    • The owners/farmers of the site; 
    • BayWa r.e. ;  
    • The commune of Cheyssieu;  
    • The community of communes Entre Bièvre et Rhône; 
    • Isère Departmental Council; 
    • The Isère and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Chambers of Agriculture. 

    Together, these players define the guidelines for certain key aspects of the project (starting with the agricultural project itself and the agronomic monitoring of the site), including the communication strategy.  

    In addition to the regularly updated website, local communications, a newsletter and an information event for Cheyssinois are planned for early 2024.

What is an Agri-PV project?

Agrivoltaics is a method of coupling agricultural production, the main activity of the land, with secondary energy production: Article 54 of Law no. 2023-175 of March 10, 2023 on the acceleration of renewable energy production is very clear on this point. It should be clearly distinguished from ground-mounted photovoltaics. 

Agrivoltaics is one of the few existing solutions for adapting the agricultural sector to climate change, and thus ensuring our long-term food sovereignty. The complementary production of low-carbon, renewable energy optimizes land use (dual use) and contributes to the host region's energy transition.

  • How it works

    For your information, the photo below, taken at the Gelsdorf agrivoltaic park in Germany, developed and built by BayWa r.e., is purely for illustrative and educational purposes. Although similar in technology, the metal structures of the Gelsdorf park are different from those envisaged for the Cheyssieu project.

    Photovoltaic panels

    Raised semi-transparent panels to meet crop light requirements


    Raising structures to ensure safe passage for farm machinery

    Row space

    Adaptation of row spacing to the farmer's needs (machine size, planting density, etc.).

  • The benefits

    The expected benefits for the part of the orchard equipped with "agrivoltaics" are manifold: 

    • Protect crops from climatic hazards (hail, late frost, strong winds, scorching) and thus secure production over the long term, with a solution adapted to climate change; 
    • Reduce disease pressure on fruit, by protecting it more effectively from humidity; 
    • Reduce and optimize water consumption, by reducing the natural evapotranspiration of apple trees; 
    • Reduce the volume of waste generated by apple production, by providing a sustainable alternative to the use of anti-hail nets; 
    • Improve the farmer's working conditions, by providing shade and coolness during the harvest, and eliminating tedious and non-productive tasks (e.g. repositioning nets after strong winds).

What's the status of the Cheyssieu agrivoltaic project?

Before submitting a building permit application (1st quarter 2024), the French government has been asked to carry out an initial verification of any specific environmental measures to be integrated into the project.  

To date, the project plans to position semi-transparent solar panels (allowing the light needed by the fruit to pass through) on around 1.5 hectares of apple trees to be planted, and to monitor the quality of agricultural production for several years, in comparison with an adjacent control plot planted simultaneously. Various technical choices or parameters linked to farm management will be tested: different photovoltaic module transparencies, different apple varieties, possibly different treatments (if production is good, the project will aim to reduce the use of inputs as much as possible, without affecting the fruit's taste quality). 

The Working Group is currently hard at work adjusting the agricultural project and its follow-up.


April 2022

Initial discussions between BayWa r.e. and the Chamber of Agriculture on the "agrivoltaic pilot project on apple trees"

March 2023

Pre-selection of BayWa r.e.'s agrivoltaic project by the European Commission for its LIFE climate change adaptation program

April to July 2023

Meeting with owners/operators and selection of the Cheyssieu site

August to September 2023

Creation and launch of a working group including stakeholders involved in defining the local agrivoltaics of tomorrow


Development, construction, apple tree planting and park commissioning

To find out more about the synergies between agriculture and renewable energy production, visit our dedicated web page!

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